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Karina's story

18th December 2015

Twenty-year-old Karina, from London contracted bacterial meningitis in October this year, suffering from severe headaches and high fevers. She was initially diagnosed with a viral infection and is still recovering from the after-effects of her illness. She tells her story here

Karina's story

“On the night of the 20th I had a headache, which was a very sharp pain, but I thought it would be okay once I slept.

"I felt the headache during my sleep too.

“I woke up with the worst pain and decided to go to A&E. After seeing the doctor he prescribed me some antibiotics for seven days, three times a day.

“My headache seemed to have reduced with the painkillers the nurse gave me for my fever.

“The next day though I was in a horrible pain and returned to A&E. After another three-and-a-half hours the nurse saw me and sent me to get my tests done. I had a urine test, x-rays and blood tests.

Kept in overnight

“They kept me in overnight and discharged me the next morning, saying it’s just viral.

“I came home and started vomiting. My headache was getting worse, I had neck stiffness. a very high fever and low blood pressure.

“I rushed back to the hospital, where I was admitted on arrival. The doctor took 35 minutes to come and see me, I thought my head was going to burst and I was vomiting out green liquid.

“Once the doctor saw me they sent me for a CT scan and when I came back I had my bloods taken, after 45 minutes of attempting to find a vein. I was put on antibiotics and given painkillers and anti-sickness medicine.

“The doctors did a lumbar puncture test on me - I still have a shock like pain in my back which connects to my right leg because of it.

Low blood pressure; high fever

“My blood pressure was extremely low throughout that night and I had a very high fever, which would not settle but increased.

“In the morning I was shifted to another ward, where the nurses forgot to give me my painkillers on time, which led to me having a severe headache throughout the night. Then they overdosed me with painkillers during that night. The nurses told my family I was due to have my painkillers at 10pm and I was given them at 1am because the nurses were ‘busy’. This meant my fever would come back and my headaches too.

“I slowly started getting better and I had an MRI done and I am still recovering from weak limbs, back pains and headaches. I also have a heavy head and some problems with my vision. The worst part of having meningitis for me was firstly the pain in my head from the constant headache and the isolation at the hospital.

“The pain was so unbearable at times that I wanted to die, but the only reason I wanted to survive was for my mum and another person who's very close to me."